This improv game is in the following improv game categories:
This is a great Accepting
exercise, but it demands a certain level of Trust
. This can also be used as a technique during Performance
The idea is to open a 2 player scene with a line of dialog that manipulates the other player's emotional state. This can be positive (Gee Robin, you look handsome today) or negative (Mary, have you been snacking again lately, I think you've gained even more weight). Player 2 should accept this manipulation, and let it change the emotional state of her character.
We mentioned Trust : it should be clear to the players that we are manipulating the emotions of characters, not the players themselves. Furthermore, the word 'manipulation' may have a negative connotation for some - this is merely a technique, not intended to make others feel bad/sad/manipulated. Do not use this exercise unless the players have developed a great deal of trust; if this exercise makes a player uncomfortable, then stop the exercise.
This can be done as a one-person exercise as well: have the player say or do something that will manipulate her own character's emotional state.
Another variation is to blurt out dialog to which the emotional reaction cannot be predicted (Honey I'm pregnant) - but also in that case player 2 should react with a change in emotion. E.g. happy: That's so wonderful baby, we've been trying for such a long time. Versus mad: You silly cow, don't tell me you forgot your birth control pills again. Versus sad: That makes me think of poor little Jimmy again, I miss him so much.
See also Pimping and Shivving .